Maimon Kirschenbaum, the lawyer who previously brought wage-law cases against Heartland Brewery, Balthazar, Jean Georges, and B.B. King Blues Club, tells us that in recent weeks he has brought others against Bouley, BondSt, Abigail Kirsch, One Little W 12, and the BLT empire. (Someone’s having a busy summer!) Kirschenbaum tells us the BLT case — which so far involves four waiters at BLT Steak, two at BLT Prime, and one at BLT Fish — is one of the most egregious examples of wage skimming he’s seen, with waiters working up to 60 hours a week without receiving overtime.
At BondSt, Kirschenbaum says, three servers are claiming that managers and sushi chefs illegally took a cut of the tip pool and required them to pay for botched orders and walkouts. At Bouley, plaintiff Michael Antanantis wasn’t paid for anything past ten hours per day — he was charged for glass breakage, and if he clocked in late, he got less points in a tip pool that, according to Kirschenbaum, illegally included a silver polisher and a sommelier with hiring and firing capabilities. Kirschenbaum says he has been seeing more cases similar to the one that was leveled against World Yacht — he says that during private parties at One Little West 12, 25 percent of the mandatory 20 percent gratuity was illegally allotted to an owner, Celeste Fierro, and the rest was pooled out to servers. Meanwhile servers used by Abigail Kirsch allegedly weren’t given any cut of a service charge that party hosts assumed was for tips. We’ll see where these cases go, but Kirschenbaum hasn’t had a bad track record — his recent case against B.B. King Blues Club was settled for $375,000, and he says other settlements have easily trumped that.